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"I never heard a Red Crosser complain. After all, we were not in battle; and we were deeply infused with sense of patriotic dedication." (Memoir, page 6)

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   Virginia C. Claudon Allen
Image of Virginia C. Claudon Allen
Detail from photo of Virginia Allen sitting with a radio mike on the "GI Jill" program, Agra, India. [Undated]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Service Location: Indian; China; Burma; Tibet; Nepal
Status: Civilian
Place of Birth: IL
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Virginia Claudon worked as a hospital volunteer in the early days of the American involvement in World War II, but when her fiancé, flying a military mission in Africa, went down with his plane, she decided to volunteer for overseas duty with the Red Cross. An illness prevented her from shipping out to Europe, and the next available assignment was in India. She was stationed in Karachi and Agra (home to the Taj Mahal), where she made morale-boosting radio broadcasts to offset the Japanese doyen of propaganda, Tokyo Rose. Claudon was exposed to polio and was the target of rumors that she was having an affair with a married officer. To allay those stories, she pretended to be engaged to an old friend from the States who was serving on Okinawa. After the war, the two began seeing each other and were married.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview  (104 min.)
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»Transcript
  Photos
»Photo Album (11 photos)
 Memoirs
»A Red Cross Volunteer in the China Burma India Theater, World War II
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»China, Burma, India
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
How she joined the Red Cross; learning about diseases she might encounter; physical training for abandoning ship; infection from surgery on her wisdom teeth prevented her from going to France; instead, she shipped out to the West Coast. (10:26) Approaching Calcutta from the Bay of Bengal; the overpowering stench; comfortable accommodations in British quarters; flown to Karachi in a C-47; doing radio broadcasts to counter Tokyo Rose; acting in a play with a lascivious leading man. (07:42) Her Red Cross club in Agra was called "Repairadise Inn," catering to airplane mechanics serving the planes flying over the Hump; teaching the soldiers etiquette; a visit to a leper colony; going to the Taj Mahal; the ritual of funeral pyres. (07:55)
Doing her daily radio program, "G.I. Jill;" having to be upbeat even when she was tired; polio epidemic, in which she was exposed; quelling the rumor that she was having an affair with an officer; end of the war celebration. (07:20)  
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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